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Cadillac Unveils 2015 ATS Coupe at NAIAS

Stephanie Davies Jan 15, 2014
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Yesterday, Cadillac unveiled its all-new 2015 ATS Coupe at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The ATS is Cadillac’s first compact luxury coupe. Infused with the ATS sedan’s agility and capabilities, the beautiful new coupe will go on sale this coming summer and is designed to be lighter and more engaging than its competitors.

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What we really love about the new ATS Coupe is that Cadillac offers consumers the choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and they can also choose between two direct-injected engines, both fitted with dual overhead camshafts and continuously variable valve timing – a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.6L six-cylinder – each allowing for some serious customization. Regardless of choice, the lightweight (lightest car in the compact luxury coupe segment) and strong structure is sure to deliver great performance while being efficient, as the Coupe offers segment-leading power-to-weight ratio.

“The 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is a natural step in the brand's progression, and another fun-to-drive and technologically advanced product for a new generation of drivers extending our target groups,” said Uwe Ellinghaus, chief marketing officer, Global Cadillac. “It is an exclusively distinctive American alternative, unique in its class, yet delivering a sporty and sophisticated driving experience rivaling the world's best.”

While the current ATS sport sedan is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged engine, that engine has been tweaked and upgraded to deliver nearly 14 percent more torque – 295 lb-ft (and 272 horsepower). This very detail is what gives the ATS Coupe a leg up in power and weight against competitors like the BMW 428i. All of that added torque amounts to more pulling power and a better response at low speeds, which helps the Coupe achieve a 0 to 60 time of 5.6 seconds. With 136 horses per liter, the 2.0L Turbo Coupe takes its place as one of the most power-dense engines in the industry.

Meanwhile, 3.6L V-6-equipped Coupes are rated at 321 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, capable of knocking down 5.4-second 0 to 60 sprints.

A Hydra-Matic 6L45 six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift control delivers the power to the wheels, though a six-speed manual is also available for the 2.0L Turbo.

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“More power with less weight is always a better combination for performance, and the ATS Coupe offers one of the best power-to-weight ratios in the segment, making it feel lighter, more direct and responsive,” said David Leone, Cadillac executive chief engineer. “Engineers vetted the ATS’s performance on the track, and the Coupe benefits from that exhaustive validation – all matched with Cadillac’s trademark refinement.”

The Coupe boasts nearly perfect 50/50 weight balance and a low center of gravity, as well as a five-link independent rear suspension made of lightweight, high-strength steel and efficient straight-link designs which help contribute to its balanced performance and responsive characteristics. More contributing factors include: a multi-link double-pivot MacPherson-strut front suspension with direct-acting stabilizer bar, underbody aerodynamic shields, Premium belt-driven electric variable-effort steering gear from ZF Steering Systems, Brembo front brakes, eighteen-inch aluminum wheels, and optional all-wheel drive.

Consumers can also choose to equip their Coupe with a driver-adjustable FE3 sport suspension, which includes Magnetic Ride Control, a mechanical limited-slip differential, high-capacity engine cooling system, and 18-inch summer-performance tires.

While the ATS Coupe and Sedan share a 109.3-inch wheelbase, they are clearly aesthetically different. The roof, doors, rear fenders and trunk lid vary between the two and the Coupe features a specific front fascia and front fenders that accommodate a wider track than the sedan. Short overhangs and sheet metal wrapped tautly around the tires (mounted on Coupe-exclusive 18-inch wheels) gives the Coupe a stronger and more aggressive stance.

Light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps with Adaptive Forward Lighting are available, while base models are equipped with projector-beam headlamps. High-intensity-discharge headlamps and front vertical LED light signatures adorn all but the standard model. Outside door handles on Performance and Premium collections are illuminated as well, and all models feature LED taillamps and a rear-center stop lamp. Capless fueling is also standard.

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Cadillac has long been a name synonymous with luxury and the interior of the Coupe oozes sophistication. Handcrafter cut-and-sewn upholstery includes decorative stitching with authentic materials including leather, aluminum, carbon fiber, and wood. There are several interior colors combinations, each unique with different accent trim materials, to adjust to many personalities – there are light, open, and warm themes as well as dark and serious, or bold, technical, and sporty.

Customization continues into the technology in the cabin with available features including: OnStar 4G LTE connectivity with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity with natural voice recognition, text-to-voice which converts text messages to speech and reads them over the Bose premium audio system speakers, USB, auxiliary, and SD memory card ports, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three-month trial subscription, reconfigurable 5.7-inch, three-window instrument panel cluster display, and a full-color reconfigurable head-up display, many of which are powered by Cadillac’s CUE technology. A 12-speaker surround sound upgrade is also available on both Standard and Luxury models and is included with Performance and Premium collections, while navigation is standard in Premium Collection and available for Luxury and Performance collections. Bose Audio Pilot monitors ambient sounds and adjusts volume and program content. Remote engine start and remote window lowering (through fob or smartphone), as well as EZ Key passive entry and push-button starting, are all standard.

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While many manufacturers record engine sounds to play through the audio system, Cadillac enhances only the car’s authentic powertrain sounds – a feature exclusive to the ATS Coupe.

So now we know that the car is beautiful, luxurious, and technologically advanced, but is it safe? Well, the ATS Coupe and ATS Sedan offer the same in safety features for the most part, though the Coupe also provides available advanced safety based on Cadillac’s “control and alert” strategy. Up to two cameras, eight ultrasonic sensors, and six radar signals help to prevent crashes. After all, accidents do happen.

Front and Rear Automatic Braking is one such safety feature which relies on radar, camera, and ultrasonic technology to help prevent front and rear low-speed collisions using a progression of alerts which ultimately apply complete braking if necessary.

Advanced safety features are included in the Driver Awareness and Driver Assist Packages. The first package is available on Luxury and included in Performance and Premium Collections. It includes: Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collision Alert, new-for-2015 Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, Intellibeam high-beam control, front and rear park assist, and a rear-vision camera with dynamic guidelines.

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The second package, a Driver Assist package is available on Performance and Premium collections and includes the Driver Awareness package in its entirety, plus Full-Speed Range Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Collision Preparation, motorized safety belts, Electronic Park Brake, Front and Rear Automatic Braking, new-for-2105 Enhanced Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and a full-color head-up display.

Of course, these two packages compliment the standard technologies of eight air bags, safety belt pre-tensioners and load limiters, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with full-function traction control, and four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS, patented rotor coating protection, and auto-dry functionality.

All of these advanced technologies combine to make the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe a leader in ultimate luxury performance. For more information, visit

Interview with David Leone

I met with David Leone, Cadillac’s Executive Chief Engineer, yesterday at the North American International Auto Show who was more than happy to give additional details on the ATS coupe, run down the status of the brand, and even give us some tips on future models. According to Cadillac’s research, 70% of ATS sedan owners are new to the brand, 50% new to GM, and 20% are under 35 years old. Therefore, the ATS coupe was made to capitalize on a younger demographic that prefers sporty coupes. This is exactly why the ATS coupe is only available with the 2.0 turbocharged 4-cylinder (enhanced to 272hp and 295 lb-ft of torque) or 3.6L V-6, both boasting 0-60 times in the mid-5s, and offered in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. A 6-speed manual is even offered on the 4-cylinder to up the fun factor, and there is even the potential for a Vsport model down the line.

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The ATS coupe will boast a number of brand-new features that will appear across the lineup as the year moves on. Starting at the front of the car, the ATS coupe wears the redesigned Cadillac crest like a badge of honor, which no longer includes the wreath. This was the 35th revision to the crest over the last 112 years (the last was done in 2000). The 4GLTE connectivity, offered through AT&T, will turn the onboard electronics into a Wi-Fi hotspot – perfect for business trips or keeping busy on a tablet during road trips. And the ATS also has cap-less refueling, which uses a spring-loaded flapper valve to negate the old-fashioned gas cap.

Leone assured us that Cadillac has never been better as a whole, boasting a 22% sales increase in 2013 (double the industry-wide figures), and that we can expect even bigger and better things in the future. Just what prey-tell could that mean? “We will have a CTS-V. It is an important part of the brand image and performance line, and a tie to racing.” He went on to say that the V-series would be extended to certain other models – continuing the rear-wheel drive performance luxury theme – but not all models. Well, that is good enough for me. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
-Scott Parker



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